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Editors’ Forum | HAJ strengthens quality-control framework

Published:Monday | February 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter
Gary Howell, managing director of the Housing Agency of Jamaica.

The Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) has been acting on recommendations from the auditor general to strengthen its quality-control framework, according to Managing Director Gary Howell. He said the agency has been employing more qualified persons with project-management skills and the scope of quality-assurance measurement has expanded.

"We usually use quality control from the point of implementing the project. Now quality control starts from the point of planning. So from that point, you have monitoring all the way down," said Howell at a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week at the media house's North Street, Kingston office.

In relation to governance, Howell explained that the Norman Brown-led board has structured committees, and there is robust accounting on a per-project basis.

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis, in a 2015 activity-based audit report, recom-mended that there should be an immediate review of the agency's governance structure and project-management practices.




Monroe Ellis continued, "HAJ must ensure that its project-management processes are structured to ensure that all projects are implemented to achieve the intended benefits and maximise the returns of scarce resources."

The report highlighted that under the Jamaica Economical Housing Project (JEHP), the HAJ paid over all funds to contractors, although work was incomplete. JEHP included developments in Belle Air and Mount Edgecombe in St Ann and Luana Gardens in St Elizabeth.

Howell noted, "The funding for the programme was coming to an end, and so the funds needed to be drawn down. HAJ held on to a performance bond to cover the exact amount of the fund, and it was monitored."